Universiteit Leiden

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Tensions around growing up bidialectal in a standardised world

  • Leonie Cornips (Maastricht University)
Thursday 11 October 2018
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


In my talk, I will focus on the phenomenon of bidialectism from different angles. I will first discuss outcomes of cognitive research revealing that dialect speaking children between 5 and 8 years do not differ in acquisition of Dutch vocabulary from their monolingual peers (Francot et al, 2017) and that they out-perform them in the Sky Search task (Blom et al, 2017).

Second, I will discuss the results from a sociolinguistic, observational study (Morilles Morales, 2017) of how and why children and their teachers choose between Dutch and dialect in kindergartens. In contrast to speaking the standard language, speaking a dialect in the Netherlands where a standard language is omnipresent is never a social neutral practice. Language ideology informs language choice in different language practices such as playing, singing, eating, and instruction.

Finally, I will discuss that the findings in the cognitive study and in studies about acquisition of grammatical gender in Dutch by bidialectal children are in contrast with the language ideology in education that acquisition of dialect will hinder a native knowledge and mastery of Dutch by young children (Cornips and Hulk 2008, Cornips 2014). I will follow Woolard’s (2016) cognitive frame in order to understand why speaking dialect in a standardized world gives rise to tensions both in society as well in linguistic research.

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